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Festive Chanukah Menu

Written by Zissie Spivak on Thursday, 22 December 2011. Posted in Food Mood

As much as I dislike winter as a whole, every year when Chanukah comes around, I feel a sense of warmth and coziness that is unique to the rest of the Jewish holidays.  There is something so special about sitting by candle light with family and friends, with soft music in the background, and of course a festive yet simple meal to share.  This dinner menu is perfect if you want to host a small Chanukah celebration during the week and don’t want to make too much!

As a private chef and a chef at a restaurant, I enjoy alternating between cooking very simply and very extravagantly.  I have kept the recipes here simple yet full of flavor.  B'tayavon!

The menu:

All recipes yield 8 servings 
Hot apple cider with rum
Potato Latkas 
Apple chutney 
Creme fraiche
Winter Salad
Fried apple fritters 

The Recipes:

Hot apple cider with rum

1 red delicious apple
1 teaspoon of whole cloves
2 quarts of apple cider
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
10 cinnamon sticks 
1 cup of dark rum
Slice the apples into quarters, avoiding seeds and core. Pierce the apples with the cloves.  Place a medium sized pot on low heat; add the apples, apple cider, sugar, and 2 cinnamon sticks. Let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add rum. Discard the apple pieces and cinnamon sticks and serve giving each person a cinnamon stick for garnish and stirring.  

Potato latkes

1 yellow onion
3 large Yukon gold potatoes 
1 sweet potato
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 200F. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
Grate the onion and potatoes on a box grater into a large bowl. Place the potato mixture in a clean dishtowel and wring out all excess liquid. Toss
the latke mixture with the flour, salt, and cayenne. Stir in the egg.
Place a large skillet on medium heat. After one minute add 1/4th inch of oil and wait another minute and a half.  Using an ice cream scoop, spoon latkes into hot pan but don’t overcrowd. Flatten each down with a the back of your spatula.  Let sizzle, about two minutes per side or until golden. Try to only turn once.  Transfer to the rack in oven while you work on the remaining batches.  Serve hot with a dollop of Crème fraiche. 


Apple Chutney

4 Granny Smith apples
3 red delicious apples
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 cups of light brown sugar
1 ½ large onion chopped
3 tablespoons of finely chopped peeled ginger
3 cloves
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of dried cranberries 
Peel and core apples, then cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
Simmer apples with remaining ingredients and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, until tender and juices have thickened, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaves and serve hot or room temperature.

Warm Winter Salad

3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces 
3 tablespoons of margarine or butter
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large package of Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
1 head of cauliflower, chopped in ½ inch pieces 
1 packed cup of sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 small package of goat cheese
2 small bunches of scallions, thinly sliced
Place a large skillet or wok on high heat.  Add margarine or butter and let melt. Turn heat down to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts and let cook for 5 minutes.  Add cauliflower, salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes or until both cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are soft inside and golden brown on the outside. 
Place Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in BOTTOM of a large serving bowl, add lettuce, scallions, and break up goat cheese with hands and crumble on top.  Add dressing right before serving, mix and enjoy!

Red wine vinaigrette dressing

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of canola oil
½ a cup of red wine vinegar 
¼ of a cup of balsamic vinegar 
4 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of Grey poupon mustard
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Whisk ingredients together. You may have some dressing left over. Depending on your preference, add the dressing a little bit at a time and dress to taste. 

Apple Fritters 

1 quart of water
Juice of half a lemon
2 Granny Smith Apples
¼ cup Flour
¾  teaspoon Cinnamon
2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
½ Tsp. salt
2/3 cup of milk
2 eggs, beaten
Canola oil for frying
Confectioners sugar 
Combine the lemon and water in a medium sized bowl. Peel and finely dice
the apples, adding them to the water as you go to prevent browning. Once all of the apples are diced, drain well removing all excess water. 
In a medium bowl, combine apples with the 1/4th cup flour and the cinnamon.
In a large bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour and baking powder. Add sugar and salt and combine well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Once well incorporated, add to the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Next add the apple mixture and stir until well combined. Put a medium large pot on high heat and fill ½ way full with canola oil. Using an ice cream scoop with a lever, drop 4 scoops of batter directly into hot oil at a time. Fry for 5 minutes, turning the fritters over with a large metal spoon every minute or so.  Add confectioner sugar on top and serve warm or room temperature.  
The Apple Fritters recipe is from the restaurant I work at, ETC Steakhouse, in Teaneck NJ, where the food is high-end, seasonal, fresh, and impossibly delicious.  You can also hire me privately by emailing me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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About the Author

Zissie Spivak

I'm a chef at Etc. Steakhouse in Teaneck NJ, while building my own private chef business where one can hire me for events, Shabbat, chag meals, and cooking lessons. My website will be launching soon. You'll be able to find menus and ideas.

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